In California, law-abiding Americans must show “good cause” why they want to carry their handguns.
Retired members of law enforcement are exempt from this requirement. California, a “May Issue” concealed-carry state (as opposed to lenient “Shall Issue” states), restricts residents from carrying their legally obtained firearms.
The government denied residents James Rothery and Andrea Hoffman permits to carry their guns, and they sued the state. After losing in the lower courts, the plaintiffs appealed to the nation’s highest court. The Hill reported that on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, which means the good-cause requirement stands. An excerpt:
The residents argued the Sacramento County sheriff was issuing permits to friends, donors and supporters but excluding others.
But state officials said Rothery now has a concealed carry permit thanks to a new sheriff, who changed the definition of good cause after taking office in 2010. That definition required only a stated desire to have the ability to carry a weapon for purposes of self-defense, or defense of a family, to obtain a license. Hoffman has not reapplied for a permit since being denied in 2008.
Although Sacramento County loosened the carry restriction, other jurisdictions will continue using the more restrictive policy, which leaves it up to sheriffs and other local officials to determine what is good cause. (Criminals don’t jump through these hoops.)
In a similar case, a federal court last year barred the District of Columbia from enforcing a good-reason requirement to carry handguns. The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that D.C.’s law barring gun ownership violated the Constitution, but the city council continued to restrict gun rights. D.C. is now a “Shall Issue” jurisdiction.
It’s safe to say most gun-rights advocates support national reciprocity, where citizens with conceal-carry permits in one state may carry their guns in other states that allow concealed carry. Second Amendment defenders across the country also support “Constitutional Carry,” in which law-abiding citizens don’t need the government’s permission to buy guns or carry them concealed or openly.